PM Netanyahu Slams EU Settlement Boycott in Meeting With German FM Westerwelle
by Joshua Levitt
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday slammed a recent EU directive which orders boycotts of Jewish communities in the West Bank, saying that the decision could negatively impact the current ongoing peace process, which resumes in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
“The European guidelines by the EU have actually undermined peace,” Netanyahu said. “They’ve hardened Palestinian positions, they seek an unrealistic end that everybody knows is not going to happen, and I think they stand in the way of reaching a solution which will only be reached by negotiations by the parties, and not by an external dictate. I think this is something that you know very well, and I look forward to discussing with you how, bilaterally and other ways, we can advance peace together.”
Netanyahu made the statement after greeting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who told him that Germany will support Israel during the peace talks.
“So let me just wish you the very best, personally and of course for the upcoming direct talks. We encourage everyone to stay on this track. We will support you,” Westerwelle said, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Communication Office.
Netanyahu welcomed the German foreign minister to Jerusalem, and remarked on the friendship between the Israel and Germany. “You’re a friend; Chancellor Merkel is a friend; and Germany is a friend of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “We both want the same thing – to achieve peace. We’re committed to peace and we’re working for peace.”
The European Union’s 2014 guidelines published last month limit interaction with Israeli entities and impose financial sanctions on Israeli communities beyond the pre-1967 lines. The guidelines “reiterate the long-held position that bilateral agreements with Israel do not cover the territory that came under Israel’s administration in June 1967,” the EU said at the time.
In response, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot to suspend several joint Israeli-EU projects across Judea and Samaria and to deny EU officials the permits needed to travel freely between Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Through subsequent talks with the EU Israel seeks to come to an arrangement whereby future agreements will ensure that institutions within the Green Line will receive grants, even if part of their activity occurs beyond the Green Line.